I do shared-parenting. It works, the kids love it.
On here people say they're keen for it. In real-life I've not met a single mother ever who would do it.
It's not going to become the norm is it?
I think 50/50 parenting is great! But only if both parents are fully committed.
In my case, I kicked the husband out due to DV when my daughter was a tiny baby. He hasn't ever had her alone and I wish for it to be that way until she old enough to care for herself. I believe him to be a massive danger to her. Yet why do I feel so guilty about it?
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Scientific Evidence for Shared Parenting:
Fantastic quote about drinking poison.....how apt
It makes me uncomfortable because there's no ONE person that will be there to be the rock. Having two rocks is different, I wish I could explain why.
yes, good point, I agree that in reality the numbers must be higher. I am not aware of any kind of 'tracking' of parents who split up, don't go to court but then have problems with contact. The only way the statistics can have been compiled is by looking at court applications and outcomes. unless anyone knows any different?
I don't have any solutions because I don't think the problem is a legal one. If you are overwhelmed by bitter, negative emotions, you are not going to give much of a stuff about what the 'law' says. The punishments for failing to stick to orders are not effective. Courts will send people to prison but what if you are dealing with the mother of a young child who has yet to meet his father? Can't really send child to live with father while mother is in prison - so child suffers.
The only thing I can think of which might help is to encourage the development of greater emotional intelligence, encourage people to think more about what they are doing, not rush into relationships and parenthood to fill some gap in their lives. Not to be so keen to be in a relationship that they ignore the clear signs that the relationship isn't going to work.
Could this be done in school? Trouble is, I think parents have more impact and they can't help if they are in a mess themselves.
i had one 19 year old client who said that every time he had sex he became a father. He was so lost, with no aspiration for any kind of future or job, all he could do was make babies and the tragedy was there was no shortage of teenage girls in same position to agree to have unprotected sex with him. He had five children when I met him and I don't think he was seeing any of them.
So there is that kind of utter tragedy and loss of a whole section of a generation. Moving up the social scale there are a lot of 'middle class' parents whose relationships go bad for a variety of reasons, this exposes inherent vulnerabilities in their personalities and they cope very badly.
Its a savage mess and it is left to the legal system to try and sort it out!
Thanks Spero - so its probably 10% of the cases which end up referred to Court, but that the number of cases, where there is implaccable hostility are probably higher as there will be percentage were the NRP 'gives up' or doesn't have the funds, to take the issue to Court. The figure could well be higher then ?
Keeping a balanced view I agree completely that we should do more to the system for those NRPs who do not contribute or support their children. I appreciate that you see this as mainly a male issue and stats would support that.
However for the predominatly mother based issued of implaccable hostility there doesn't seem to be a solution, except for both parties to look at their behaviour including the NRP who could well be fighting for contact with their child ? With your experience and no doubt your colleagues who you talk to, do you have any proposals or suggestions for ways of dealing with such cases, based on it probably be a lot higher than 10% of all cases referred to Courts ?
I think the problem is that the 'bitter few' seem more numerous than they really are as they post very frequently and in quite forceful language. But I really think they are few.
as the wise old saying has it, feeling bitter is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It is almost always a clear symptom of quite massive difficulties for that individual. And sadly the legal system can't do much about it.
Your are right it was unfair. It does seem like the 'bitter few' drown out the rest though. Maybe it is because they have/or think they have more to say??
I guess Feeling Bitter is a nasty town to live in no matter what the situation?!
I have received some very wise words from this site as well.
I think 'huge majority' is wrong and unfair. I have encountered a few people with a very black and white view of the world but my experiences are that the 'huge majority' are quite balanced and give sound advice. That is one of the major benefits of this site.
But I am glad to hear you have got through the worst. It is always good to hear that things can turn around. Sadly I only see people at their worst and have had some cases drag on in excess of five years now...
Spero. Very well put. 'Two to tango' has always summed it up so well?!
I'd imagine there are only a tiny number of cases where it is one sided (both leading to split and after).
I know for sure that there are two sides to my split story and both of us should admit fault (we just weren't suited). Things have changed and I would certainly not call my ex 'implacably hostile' any more.
This site does have a huge majority who think that the other half was totally to blame though?!
Its a percentage often touted in my field but I am afraid I don't know where it comes from - better find out. I assume it must be of all applications made to court as I don't think anyone is keeping any records of parents who just split up but arrange it amicably.
What we are told is that the majority of separating parents do sort it out themselves but a small percentage have to litigate and an even smaller percentage of that number (this is I assume the 10%) are deemed 'implacably hostile' i.e. the resident parent (and I accept almost always the mother) refuses to act reasonably with regard to contact, in the worst cases refusing it altogether.
I have been doing this stuff for over a decade now and I would say it is rare to have such cases. It is extremely rare to have a parent who is maliciously and deliberately frustrating contact - I would say I have had a handful in that time. What you usually get is a relationship that has gone very toxic and the bitterness both parents feel for each other spills over into the issues of contact/residence. Very often I think there are psychological problems exhibited by one or both parents which have been exacerbated by the hurt and misery of a relationship split.
And I am afraid that the non resident parents are not very good at looking hard at their own behaviour - mostly both parents are behaving badly when you get to implacable hostility cases. I do think it usually takes two to make such a toxic mess in a broken down relationship.
I don't know what the answer is. All I know it is hellish for the children involved and I struggle to see why any intelligent adult could bear to put their children thru that.
Hi Spero - great that we have a family lawyer who can give some perspective re intractably hostile cases. You talk about this being 10% - what is that 10% of ? Divorce cases in total, cases which are referred to Court re child contact and who measured the 10% - is it an 'official' figure ?
Peterpan I would agree with you that hostility from resident parents is part of the problem. But you do need to add to that list the very real problem of men who don't care and won't get involved. This is a problem that is not restricted to hostile women only. And I agree that we can't 'force' men into having a relationship with their children - but we can damn well do more to improve the system of collecting money from them to maintain their children.
and fwiw I don't think the new law will make a shred of difference. I am a family lawyer and it has always been the case that the law recognises and enforces the right of the child to have a relationship with both parents.
The problem is the 10% of intractably hostile cases. These are not legal problems but emotional/psychological problems. And both parties in a relationship have to understand why a relationship has broken down to such an extent that a mother will not even contemplate allowing a father contact. I find it hard to believe that every case of implacable hostility is explained by the mother being 100% bitch. We all need to examine our behaviour in relationships to understand how such an awful situation has arisen.
Oh forgot to say: Balder is spot on, shared care is not the problem, hostile parents who put their own hostility before their children is the problem.
From my experience with friends/family it's looking like equality in that subject for you girls!!
California, forget about this 50% issue. 'Shared parenting' doesnt necessarily mean 50/50. Shared parenting means having both parents in the children's live: 20/80, 10/90, what ever. The new legislation will hopefully mean that NRPs that want a role in their children's live will not be prevented by the hostile actions of a RP (for too long anyhow).
Unfortunately people are still conditioned for men to take on less of a role in children's lives and that is probably reflected in your play ground?? But it has changed and will change more as time passes.
The gender divide with work however makes it far harder for men to do the school run. A higher percentage of females (especially with kids) work part time, normally so that they can do child care as well!!
I work away so a proper 50/50 split was never going to be possible with my children after the split. I was the main carer while at home though when still with their mum. But as time goes by I hope to be doing more and more of the 'routine' care with them like the school runs, etc, even though I've not been allowed 50/50 contact while at home.
But there are many RPs out there that do not allow the NRPs enough time with the kids other than at the weekends, how can those ever be anything other than 'Disney Dads'??
There are many men out there that sherk the responsibility of being a father even with being granted a good contact routine. But there are also many women in the past who did not allow decent contact let alone an equal say in the children's lives. I hope that this new legislation will go some way to making things equal.
I know there is also the counter argument that NRPs who sherk their responsibility should be forced to take some of the care arrangements off of the RP. Well if someone doesn't want to be a parent is it in the interests of the children for them to be forced???
'I don't know a father who doesn't put his children before themselves'
well that is lovely for you op. However, I know plenty of fathers who put their work, their girlfriends. their sport, their drinking, their friends etc, etc, before the children.
I would bloody love 50/50 care. I would love a weekend where I got to have a lie in, could go to the cinema without spending all my spare cash on a babysitting. But unfortunately my daughter has a father who thinks he deserves a medal because he sees her four times a year.
The blame is not always on the woman's shoulders.
We must mix in very different circles.
It's about half and half at my children's school.
But remember anecdotal evidence isn't fact.
I should imagine the men are contributing to the family by being at work.
I'm a big fan of Erin Pizzey, she believed that domestic violence against men is massively under reported and I tend to agree.
You come across as pretty anti-father and that mums are brilliant, and that's your opinion and it's valid.
I just think it's wrong. I believe fathers are more involved with their children than they have ever been, and I think this is a result of women wanting equality, so do women want equality or not?
As for the evidence in Australia, I think the patriarchal society is so opposed to men becoming equal that it rails against it.
Shared care isn't the problem it's hostile parents, but I suppose that's the dads fault?
Update, Head count at school gates today - 3 men out of roughly 50-60 parents? (2 of these actually grandads).
What is mystifying to me is why the same men suddenly want to parent 50 % after divorce yet are so reluctant to beforehand when they have every opportunity. (You only have to read previous comments, feeds blogs, speak to people etc to hear all the women bemoaning the lack of input from their men. One or two right on chaps does not a consensus make.)
The main point is that you can't have a one size fits all. Some children cannot adapt well to shared care, and domestic situations vary a lot, as do parents. Domestic violence is also a very real and present threat to many women and children and needs to be taken into account when looking at legislation.(Yes a few men suffer dv too, though frankly in tiny numbers by comparison).
Research from other countries who have tried shared care (such as Australia) have experienced huge problems and have been back tracking as a result. If you are going to quote research then don't cherry pick, read it all.
California. I have to agree that your statements were a little....hmm?!
Times are changing, and roles are changing with it. Both me and my brother have had a far higher input into our children's daily lives than our father did with us, and he was very hands on for his generation.
When I was still with my ex I was always by default the main carer when I was home from work. There was no arguments about that (arguments about everything else!) and the only difference in our parenting abilities lay our breasts!!
I reserve the right to be insulting when faced with someone who denigrates my parenting abilities purely because of my sex.
If you don't like that then frankly I couldn't care less. Feel free to take your sexism somewhere else.
And 9% of separated couples do shared care, so we're up to about 19%.
'There are now 10 times as many stay-at-home dads in the UK than a decade ago, with one in seven fathers (14%) now the main childcare provider, according to research from Aviva. It says about 1.4 million men are now the primary carer in their households [see footnote].'
Times are a changing.
Also can you link to any empirical evidence for men not putting themselves before their children.
Snorbs If you are right and only 1 in 10 single parents are fathers, then the 'fact' is the vast majority of single parents are women, which added to the number of women in 2 parent families who are doing the majority of childcare and nurturing, then the status quo seems clear, and does not support any change in the law.
Empirical research shows me that women are still on the whole taking on the vast majority of the childcare, particularly with younger children.
I didn't say fathers are disposable, but they should not expect to take over a role they have not previously fulfilled prior to the split - children need continuity of care in their lives, particularly during such a stressful time for them when their parents are separating. I think the fact that you feel the need to get agressive and resort to abusive language during a civilized discussiion speaks volumes and helps make my case for me !
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